MyOutdoorBuddy Hunting News Regional Directory
New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 


Website of the Week


Mule Deer Challenge

Mule Deer Challenge, Mark Higley, my, hunting, deer hunting, john higley, outdoor recreation

fter drawing a premium deer tag for Zone X7a this year, I hoped to make the most of my opportunity to hunt mule deer in California. Realistically, I may be too old to put out the effort by the time I get a similar tag sometime in the future. Hey, I’m on the far side of 70 already. As a friend once said, “How the heck did that happen?”

With X7a, I did not know what I was getting into because I’d never hunted there before. The country, roughly west and southwest of Hallelujah Junction and Highway 395, is big and the deer are in widely separated pockets. There’s a lot of the high desert terrain where there aren’t any. My ace-in-the-hole was my son-in-law Robert Feamster, who hunted in the zone previously, and is familiar with some of the roads. He and my son Mark accompanied the old man, which I appreciated greatly--especially because they promised to pack my buck out for me should that be necessary.

Robert Feamster, Mule Deer Challenge, Mark Higley, my, hunting, deer hunting, john higley, outdoor recreation
Author's companions Robert Feamster (top) and son Mark attempt to locate some deer from afar with binoculars during the X7a hunt.

With all that help, I’d like to say I shot a monster mule deer and came home to face another taxidermy bill, but such is not the case. The buck I “settled” for would have been a good size blacktail, but as a mule deer it was on the small side. Regardless of its size, though, the venison will be wonderful.

Here’s the way things shook out. On opening day, October 5, we started hiking in the dark to a place near the small town of Loyalton that was pointed out to us in advance by a local resident who Robert knew. We were told the spot held plenty of deer, including some nice bucks, and there was very little hunting pressure. Unfortunately, a little hunting pressure was more than enough. Two other hunters had walked through the area in the dark, and the deer were gone by the time it was light enough to see. We hunted from first light until afternoon, hiked our tails off in steep terrain, and saw only a couple of does for our trouble. By the time we got back to our pickup truck my confidence level left a lot to be desired. Oh, and falling down three times on steep slopes, and using all the Band Aids in my day pack to stop the bleeding from various cuts and scrapes, didn’t help.

Mule Deer Challenge, Mark Higley, my, hunting, deer hunting, john higley, outdoor recreation
Author John Higley and his son Mark pose with author's young mule deer buck in Zone X7a.

On Sunday, I declared I was done with hiking, unless we spotted some deer in advance with a spotting scope or binoculars. We went to another location, and after a cold start, glassing for two hours, and seeing no deer whatsoever, I was definitely ready to make something happen.

That’s when Robert suggested visiting another place where he had seen deer in the past, and that’s what we did.

After traversing a boulder-filled dry wash without getting our rig stuck, we parked near a small grove of aspens nestled below a sagebrush covered ridge, and started glassing again. Almost immediately, Robert spotted four bucks on the hillside above us, one of which had larger antlers than the others.

“You ought to shoot that one,” he said, and I took his advice. The buck, standing 207 yards away, dropped instantly when my weathered .270 Winchester Model 70 went off.

So there it is. I filled my tag with a young buck wearing a small 3x4 rack. Just like that, my hunt was over, except for the pack out, and that was a simple downhill drag.

I still wish I had held out a bit longer. After my buck was down we saw two other bucks, and they were considerably bigger than the one I got.

However, you make your choices, and you have to live with them. With any luck at all, I will hunt mule deer again somewhere in the Golden State one of these years, and, despite my age, take up where I left off. Time will tell.

In retrospect, my hunt was short, challenging and fun, and my favorite hunting companions were along for the ride. I really can’t ask for much more.

Author and writer John Higley is a resident of Palo Cedro, CA. His articles have appeared in Outdoor California and other fishing and hunting journals. He is the author of two books: “Hunting Wild Turkeys In the West” and “Hunting Blacktail Deer.”

More Hunting News

Conservation Key to Future of Hunting

11/14/16 -- At its core, conservation seeks sustainability of wildlife and wild places. Ethical hunters want wild animals to flourish in their natural habitat as much as possible, and will act on their behalf in order to protect and conserve... Full Story

​I Was an Indoor (Outdoor) Slave

Don Webster, author badge,
04/07/16 -- I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all those kind folks who sent me "get well" cards and flowers during my recent, self-imposed stay at the Broken Antlers Rehabilitation Clinic. I'm especially indebted... Full Story

Nash Buckingham

Don Webster, author badge,
Theophilus Nash Buckingham (1880-1971) was an American author and conservationist from Tennessee. He is known for being an avid shotgunner and wingshot, and a best-loved outdoor writer of his time... Full Story

How much venison do hunters harvest?

Venison Bourguignon (Venison Stew), photo by Daniel Bledsoe,
06/17/15 -- The Dallas Safari Club (DSC) intends to find out. A study launching in 2015 will measure the actual amounts of venison and other wild protein harvested annually in North America. Researchers will assess the nutritional... Full Story

Pups & Partridges on the Calapooia Prairie

Liesl, 11 month old pudelpointer, photo by Gary Lewis
By Gary Lewis
02/18/15 -- They say a great pointing dog only comes along once or twice in a hunter's lifetime. Some dogs don't have the heart or the desire. Others don't seem to have the nose or the brain. We brought home our pudelpointer in... Full Story

DSC convention goers raise $1M in 1 minute

01/19/15 -- Responding to a heartfelt appeal for youth outdoor education, DSC convention goers on Saturday night raised $1 million in about 60 seconds. The fast flurry of fundraising was a highlight of the 2015 DSC convention and expo... Full Story

It’s Not over Till the Lady Sings

mountain lion on rocky edge, photo courtesy of UDWR and Carrie Wilson, CA DFW
By Gary Lewis
01/19/15 -- If you want to avoid being attacked by a mountain lion, conventional wisdom says, you should travel in groups. If you encounter a mountain lion by yourself or with children, stop and make yourself look as big as possible... Full Story

The buck we didn’t get and two we did

Tyler Low with his 3x4 buck shot at 100 yards with a Weatherby Vanguard .300 Winchester Magnum. Photo by Kyler Olson
By Tyler Low
08/10/14 -- “Can you see him? He is just below the sky line to the left of the big live oak.” The respectable three-point stood only 500 yards away, but my hunting partner, Kyler Olson, couldn’t quite get an eye on him... Full Story

Where Are All the Pheasants?

Sacramento Valley Pheasant, Steven T. Callan, Where Have All the Pheasants Gone
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
The other day a neighbor stopped by my house after two days of hunting pheasants in the Orland area. He said that he and his golden retriever, Milo, had probably walked ten miles and only flushed three birds. Knowingthat I had grown up... Full Story

Ham on the Hoof

Article and photos by Gary Lewis
12/17/13 -- We were climbing a steep gravel ranch road in Charlie’s Toyota when we saw it, as big as a full-grown bear and on a dead run. Charlie hit the brakes and switched off the engine. There was no time to load the rifle. The shaggy, gray... Full Story

Never say never

Never say never, rifle buk, Francisco Garcia,
By Francisco Garcia
Most of you have heard the saying, patience is a virtue, and I would say persistence is a virtue. If you want to fill your deer tag each season you have to put your time in. If you don’t give in and hunt hard you should be... Full Story

Hunting trip gone bad

Deer holding tight in cover during times of heavy hunting pressure as I was about to find out. Francisco Garcia hunting story.
By Francisco Garcia
If you asked me what I’d rather be doing, most of the time I would emphatically say, deer hunting. For me nothing gets the juices flowing and the imagination spinning like the arrival of bow or rifle season for deer. When... Full Story


Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports


So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries,

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.


A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.